Our SharePoint installation is using a custom masterpage at the moment and I would like to create a completely new one.

All of the sites are using custom.master, located in the master page gallery /_catalogs/masterpage/Forms/AllItems.aspx. If I change the top level site back to default.master and select to update all subsites, only some of the sites change while others remain on the custom.master style (despite being directed to inherit from parent or told specifically to use default.master).

I have tried modifying the custom.master file in SharePoint Designer and I have made a small change (adding a hyphen into a link in the footer). This updates fine for the sites that will revert to default.master but not those that won’t update at all. It would appear that they are using a different custom.master file but I am not sure where to find this or how they are being told to use it.

I would appreciate any suggestions to help point me in the right direction. Many thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


If they are team sites/not publishing sites then the master page could be in the _catalogs directory of that actual site.

  • Thanks, I have just created a new site using the Publishing template and the theme on there changed no problem. Is there a way that I can change the type of template for existing sites? I have enabled the publishing site feature on the sites that will not work which then amends the master page link in Site settings to the top level _catalogs folder however does not change the theme.
    – Matt
    Dec 1, 2011 at 9:52
  • As a side note, when I'm in the site settings, this is not the default SharePoint theme. This page (_layouts/settings.aspx) on all sites is using the version of custom.master that I cannot find / update.
    – Matt
    Dec 1, 2011 at 10:05
  • The master page that will be used on the settings page is the application.master which can only be changed through code Dec 1, 2011 at 10:29
  • We have multiple web applications and only one is customised. The site settings page uses the default theme on all sites but the one described above. Would the application.master amend all sites under every web application?
    – Matt
    Dec 1, 2011 at 11:14

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